RIT hosts Baja off-road racing event on campus and at regional motor cross site June 9-12

National and international collegiate race cars compete in SAE Baja World Challenge

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A. Sue Weisler

RIT Baja Racing unveiled its 2016 racecar with an exciting ride at the Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival on May 7. The team hosts 100 national and international collegiate off-road race teams on campus and at a local motocross site for Baja SAE Rochester, June 9-12.

Off-road racing returns to Rochester Institute of Technology June 9-12 as the university will host and compete against 100 collegiate race car teams from around the world at the 2016 SAE Baja World Challenge. This is the sixth time RIT has hosted one of the Society of Automotive Engineers’ student design and racing competitions at the university.

Competing will be more than 1,200 students from colleges such as Purdue, Ohio State, Clarkson, Clemson, Cornell, Johns Hopkins and Michigan State universities, as well as Tennessee Tech and University of Rochester. They will be joined by a large contingent of international university teams from Canada, Venezuela, India, Brazil and Mexico.

The event is free throughout the weekend. Events include:

  • Registration and sales presentations open the four days of competition at 8 a.m. on Thursday, June 9.
  • Static events—design, safety, engine and technical inspections—take place at the RIT Gordon Field House and Activities Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, June 10.
  • Dynamic events resume 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, at Hogback Hill Motocross Track in Palmyra, N.Y., and include the hill climb, acceleration, suspension and traction competitions, as well as land maneuverability challenges.
  • The event concludes on Sunday, June 12, at Hogback Hill with the four-hour endurance race beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Static events at RIT are open to the public, who can view the cars and talk to members of the teams about how the off-road vehicles are designed and built. Parking is limited at Hogback Hill. Viewing areas along the course will be marked on site.

SAE Baja consists of competitions that simulate real-world engineering design projects in which engineering students design and build off-road vehicles that will survive the severe punishment of rough terrain—hill and rock climbs—acceleration and maneuverability challenges and a four-hour endurance race. The object of the competition is to provide SAE student members with a challenging project that involves the design, planning and manufacturing tasks found when introducing a new product to the consumer industrial market.

RIT’s Baja race team opened its season, placing first overall at Tennessee Tech on April 14-17. They placed third overall in California May 19-22. Top teams at each of these competitions included Cornell, McGill University (Canada), the University of Nebraska and Ecole de Technologie Superieure (Canada). All will be top contenders for the Rochester event and the Mike Schmidt Iron Team Award, given to the team with the best cumulative scores from each of the national competitions as well as perseverance, engineering excellence and competitive spirit.